Monday, June 27, 2011

Kitchen Gadgets ~ A Few of My Favorite Things

Every cook and baker, whether professional or amateur, probably has certain tools and gadgets they simply couldn't live without.  These are tools and kitchen gadgets that make life in the kitchen easy and enjoyable.  They help get the job done right, whether the job is Thanksgiving dinner or pizza night.

Here are my kitchen essentials.  My forays into food would be far more challenging without them.

  1. Farberware Classic Forged 22-Piece Knife Block Set - This knife set is amazing. It comes with eight steak knives, 6-inch and 8-inch chef's knives, 7-inch Santoku knife, 6-inch cleaver, 3 and 1/4-inch paring and bird's-beak paring knives, a 5-inch serrated utility knife, a 6-inch boning knife, kitchen shears, 6-inch fork, and an 8-inch sharpening steel.  The only two knives in this set I haven't used are the boning knife and the cleaver.  But they're awesome.  Amazing.  And the wood block makes for great storage.
  2. Calphalon Non-Stick 10-inch and 12-inch Skillets - I've mentioned these before, but they're worth mentioning again. They're the best skillets I've ever used.  They cook evenly, and are the correct shape for making omelets and sauteing vegetables, stir frying, and everything in between.
  3. Pampered Chef Pizza Stone - Okay, so the pizza stone I have is a couple years old and doesn't have the handy handles on it.  But I just leave it in my lower oven most of the time. The pizza I've made with this thing is the best pizza ever - the crust is so much crisper than on a standard pizza tin!  And if you're going to have a pizza stone, be smart and get a...
  4. Wooden Pizza Peel - The days before I got this item were fraught with danger when it came time to taking pizza out of the oven (and off the pizza stone).  This pizza peel is a life saver.
  5. Calphalon Wooden Utensils - This seems ridiculously simple, but the best tools in my kitchen are my three hefty wooden spoons.  What can I say... I'm Italian.
  6. Wilton Bakeware - Okay, I don't have every piece of bakeware from every category from Wilton, but I wish I did.  All of my metal bakeware is Wilton. It cooks evenly, and every cake I've ever make in a Wilton pan comes out perfect after the minimum baking time has passed.
  7. KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer - This is my mixer. Isn't it a beautiful thing?  Perfect batters, the stiffest egg whites I've ever seen - ever!  Any serious baker should have one of these.
  8. OXO Good Grips Chopper - This thing is fun, easy, and awesome to use.  A few good "smacks" and you've got minced garlic, onions, olives - whatever you need, as fine as you need.  Plus, it comes apart for easy cleaning.
  9. OXO Good Grips Wire Balloon Whisk - Okay, so it doesn't have to be OXO, or necessarily a balloon whisk in particular.  But if you want to make smooth sauces or batters by hand, you need a good wire whisk. The loops shouldn't touch each other, either, because food can get stuck in between, which makes cleaning a pain, and it should be sturdy enough to stand up to the sides of any bowl or pan you're cooking in.
  10. Cuisinart Mini-Prep Food Processor - I don't do a whole lot of food processing, at least not in large amounts, so this little food processor is perfect for my needs.  The blade orientation can be changed depending on whether you're processing soft foods or grinding nuts.  Plus the whole assembly comes apart for easy cleaning, and it doesn't take up much storage space.
I'm sure I have many more gadgets and tools in my kitchen that I simply "can't live without", but this is truly the short list.  Without these items, my cooking and baking adventures wouldn't go over nearly as well as they do.

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